By the Sea in Bali, With an Artistic Touch


The one-hectare site required extensive landscaping, since it had a two-meter gradient sloping down from the sea. The first steps were to build a retaining wall, a bridge over a small stream and an access road, then level out the land, a process that lasted a year.

Construction of the home took 17 months, and the couple occupied the house in mid-2010. Including the decking, the roofed area covers slightly more than 18,000 square feet. Their two adult daughters also eventually settled in Bali and have their own quarters that they use on weekends.

The younger daughter is married to a French architect who runs a practice in Bali.

The family has now developed several other properties on the island.

The couple knew immediately what style they wanted for the Konaditya Estate, which is arranged around a boardwalk across the lotus ponds of a central courtyard. They absorbed and deployed the “logic” that they had observed over the course of many stays in Aman Resorts properties and other luxury hotels.

“It’s only one floor, so it’s not a big deal,” Mr. Roncoroni said. “The big deal is, can you have a good balance of proportion? Can you have different areas of gravity?”

The six bedrooms are all en suite and form their own discrete apartments. Even when full, the home has enough separate areas so that one group can be entertaining while another person works undisturbed in a different corner of the property. “After five years now, we know it worked,” Mr. Roncoroni said.

The aged teak comes from old houses that had been dismantled. Railway sleepers from the Kalimantan region on Borneo got a second lease on life as the ironwood for the decks. The pitched roofs use the wood shingle common throughout Bali. The cream-colored stone on the floors and trim around the courtyard is Palimanan, from a village of that name on Java.

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Its sea exposure brings ocean breezes right into the home. ‘‘It’s like being in a boat,’’ Chino Roncoroni, its owner, said.

Credit
Alex Frew McMillan

“We tried to keep this local,” Mrs. Roncoroni said. There are several temples on the property to Balinese gods, including one in a banyan tree that houses the spirit of the home. “It’s such a peaceful place.”

There is no trace of their Nepalese past in the architecture. Mr. Roncoroni is now an avid collector of Balinese art, and has about 40 works — many of them displayed in the home — from the painter and sculptor I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, one of the island’s best-known prewar artists. Mr. Roncoroni has backed the recent publication of a monograph, “Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line,” very nearly a catalogue raisonné providing a comprehensive account of Lempad’s works and influences.

Konaditya is high maintenance and runs through the efforts of a staff of 27. Its sea exposure leaves the home exposed to ocean breezes that blow into the main living area. “It’s like being in a boat,” Mr. Roncoroni said. “At 6 o’clock we have to go over everything with a cloth.”

The couple spend three-quarters of the year in Bali, decamping to Paris for much of the remainder. Guests can rent the Konaditya Estate for $5,500 per night in the off season, and $9,000 in Bali’s high season, the dry months of July and August. So far, it has attracted mainly Europeans.

Mr. Roncoroni continues to visit Nepal three times a year to hunt for both art and supplies. He also gets salt that is carried by yaks from a Himalayan lake in Tibet, and he prizes the wheat in Nepal, so he takes 40 kilograms of stone-ground flour to make bread and pizzas back in Konaditya’s wood-fire oven. The cooks also make jam and ice cream on the property, and grow the bulk of the vegetables that the couple eat.

“You cook something and it is not organic, what is the point?” Mr. Roncoroni asked. “You learn to live with nature. We can do it here.”

Rice comes from the fields behind the house. That green-zone land was recently rezoned for residential use. Not wanting to have neighbors nearby, Mr. Roncoroni bought two acres of farmland and leased four more. He plans to build an art studio and yoga pavilion on some of the lush rice paddy.

Eventually, he says, he may build as many as three homes there, each with six bedrooms over one floor. “It’s a wonderful area,” Mr. Roncoroni said. “Why not keep it a nice space?”

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